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NASCAR Cup Phoenix showdown “a little bit of a letdown” for Byron

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The 25-year-old received a season-high six races in 2023 and took pole for the essential Championship 4 race, however after successful the opening stage felt his stability shifted because the monitor rubbered in.

Having led all 60 laps within the opening stage, he remained out entrance till he was run down by Kevin Harvick for the lead on lap 93 of 312, main solely three extra laps within the race.

As Ross Chastain took victory, second place proved sufficient for Crew Penske’s Ryan Blaney to win his first Cup title while Byron ended up fourth, placing him third among the many Championship 4 contenders.

Byron, the youngest of the Championship 4 drivers in his first alternative to win a title, mentioned: “As soon as the monitor rubbered in, we received actually tight.

“Particularly after we misplaced the lead on monitor, we simply had a giant stability shift and received tight again in second by way of fifth, simply couldn’t acquire lots of pace by way of [Turns] 1 and a couple of, simply type of having to essentially over-slow the automotive, get it to the underside.

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“That’s all we had there. Simply actually pleased with our staff, nice season.

“It stinks to return up quick. I’d prefer to assume we’re going to be again on this place and we’re going to have extra pictures at it.”

Photograph by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Chevrolet Camaro

Byron has focused on quick tracks as an space for enchancment in 2024.

Admitting that Sunday’s end was “a little bit of a letdown”, he added: “I felt like we introduced a superb automotive this weekend. Actually till the monitor type of modified, I believed we had been within the sport.”

His team-mate Kyle Larson missed out on a second Cup title by ending third within the race, and admitted to NBC Sports activities afterwards that he “was simply not so good as a number of different guys, particularly Blaney and Ross most likely”.

Larson was overtaken by Blaney for second within the closing phases and could not mount a fightback afterwards.

“I am at peace understanding that that was all I had at this time”, he mentioned. “I do know it did not look possibly prefer it that final run. That was all I had, our staff did a extremely good job of placing us in that spot.

“I’m nonetheless clearly extraordinarily bummed, as I am certain Denny [Hamlin] was final week. Although I did not really feel like I had the quick automotive, I had a possibility. It is a bummer when you do not win.

“On the similar level, I am most likely arising this shut, most likely extra looking forward to the next season already. I do know the place I would like to enhance and I am simply able to get again on the monitor and work on all that.”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro

Larson felt that Blaney and his staff “did a extremely good job” after successful final day trip at Martinsville to safe a Championship 4 berth, and mentioned “they deserved to win”.

In the meantime, fourth title contender Christopher Bell noticed his hopes evaporate when he blew a brake rotor on lap 108 and his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota slammed the Flip 3 wall to trigger sufficient harm to place him out of the race.

Bell, who completed third within the standings final 12 months, defined that it was “the primary time I’ve ever exploded a rotor in my profession”.

“I used to be stunned, however early on within the race I had just a little little bit of brake fade and the second run it simply stored getting worse and worse,” he mentioned.

“I don’t know. Simply clearly a disappointing solution to finish.”

Reflecting on his season, he added: “I’m very pleased with the trouble put forth by our staff to get to the Championship 4, however I do really feel like we left rather a lot on the desk at numerous races all year long.

“I’m excited in regards to the future. We haven’t reached our potential but.”

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